I am interested in this as I build my first bass and it took me the whole summer, so any ways to make the handbuilding process simpler, faster and still reliable. Classical guitars have flat fretboards for ages and no one seems to be complaining too much about it, so avoiding to waste those hours rounding the fretboard seems to be a good idea in a homemade production point of view.

What do you think?

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    When you play your homemade bass, do you find it harder or easier to play than other basses because of the flat fretboard? Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 2:42
  • My bass has a round fretboard, as I went for doing what the industry does. It envolved quite a bit of work and it's not as even as any chinese bass around, so I wonder if I could skip this step. Probably, the best answer will come after I build it and test it myself, but wanted to know what other musicians feel about it. Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 3:10
  • I would hazard a guess that the vertical displacement helps prevent the strings from hitting each other, since the heavier bass strings will oscillate more than classical guitar strings. It might also be to help with barring, which would be quite difficult on a wide flat board with bass strings.
    – user28
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 3:46
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    @Tim Hmm, I do like to use barring when I play my 5-string. It's quite useful when alternating strings on the same fret.
    – user28
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 6:59
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    FWIW, an acoustic bass (orchestral) has a rounded fingerboard for obvious reasons. The amount of curvature on any electric bass guitar is far less than that, since nobody ( :-) ) bows them. I suspect a bit of rounding fits the natural motion of your hand/wrist/arm. Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 11:28

1 Answer 1


The closer the curve of a fretboard is to the curve of your hand, the easier playing will be, but a flatter fretboard should allow a player to play faster and perform better bends.

To answer your question, most people benefit from the ease of playability from a radius, even if only a slight radius, so most companies build rounded fretboards, but from what I've seen flat, or flat-ish, fretboards aren't really THAT uncommon.

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